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Cheat Sheet: How to Use Turkish Airlines Miles for Cheap Business Class Flights

Cheat Sheet: How to Use Turkish Airlines Miles for Cheap Business Class Flights

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If you’re looking for ways to travel from the U.S. to Europe and beyond, all in business class, you may want to consider the Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles loyalty program for award redemptions. The carrier is part of the 28-member Star Alliance, which means you can redeem partner miles for business class seats.

Turkish Airlines has good award availability in business class, and seats are easy to book online. The Turkish Miles & Smiles award chart is quite reasonable for business class redemptions. Below we look at the airline’s route network, how to find space, best mile deals and award space rules and fees.

In this article

The Turkish Airlines route network

The airline’s route network covers more than 300 destinations out of the new Istanbul Airport, including 11 cities in North America:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montreal
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Toronto
  • Washington, D.C. (Dulles)

How much do awards cost?

Turkish Airlines has several award charts that let you see how many miles you need to redeem for award travel, depending on region and class. Below are the regions, broken down by countries:

Travelers have two options at flight redemption time: limited space capacity and guaranteed. Under limited capacity, fewer miles are needed, but only a finite number of seats are available. If you’re willing to redeem more miles, you can book a guaranteed seat if you’re willing to redeem more miles to get one. All award travel is round-trip. Below is the regular points redeemed for award travel:

 

Note: Taxes and charges start at $30 USD for domestic flights in Turkey and $53 USD for international flights. Star Alliance award tickets can also be issued as one-way tickets. The mile value of a one-way ticket is 50% of a round-trip ticket.

Miles & Smiles members can also redeem miles for a companion ticket, also under limited space capacity and guaranteed space categories. When buying a ticket through a sales office, the call center or a travel agent, indicate you’re also redeeming miles for a companion ticket to be issued for your travel companion. You will be charged taxes and fees on the companion ticket starting at $30 USD for domestic flights in Turkey, and $53 USD for international flights.

See the charts, below:

Note: Companion tickets cannot be issued online. One companion ticket is issued for each paid ticket, and that passenger must travel on the same flight, and in the same or lower flight class. Companion tickets can only be used on Turkish Airlines flights. These tickets can’t be upgraded with or earn miles. Mile refunds for unused companion award tickets cost $50 USD.

Turkish Airlines also has an award chart for upgrades:

Note: Mile values shown above are for one-way tickets. Upgrades can only be used on Turkish Airlines flights.

How to find Turkish Airlines award space

For a simple one-way or round-trip ticket with fixed dates, you can search for awards on the Turkish Airlines website once you set up a free account. Below is the screen to choose the city-pairs and dates of your flight:

 

The next screen shows you your flight option in economy and business classes. We chose business class, but only the more expensive guaranteed seat is available:

After you select your flights, you’ll see the screen with a total price in miles and cash.

Since the limited availability 90,000-mile business class fare between North America and Turkey wasn’t available, try doing an award search on the United Airlines website. See the example below for a Miami-Istanbul flight.

Both the miles and fees on United are less than what’s offered on Turkish Airlines — and you’ll still be flying on the carrier.

What are the best business class deals?

Turkish Airline business class is a good experience for passengers, with amenities including a lie-flat seat with an in-chair massage, an adjustable and rotating food table, a reading lamp, a power supply and a privacy screen. Fresh Turkish and international cuisine is served.

The Turkish Airlines Business Lounge has a reputation for being among the best in the business. It features private suites, showers, an outpost of the Istanbul Modern museum, along with Turkish and international cuisine.

Business class passengers with a connection time of at least nine hours or longer can take advantage of an up to two-night free stay in a hotel chosen by the airline. This service is available to international passengers traveling from outside Turkey who have a connecting flight to their final destination outside Turkey which departs from Istanbul Airport. The accommodation service is also available to passengers traveling on codeshare flights connecting in Istanbul.

North America to Istanbul and Europe

Since Turkish prices most of its business class awards only 50% more than economy, the best redemption value comes with former. A business class guaranteed flight between the U.S. and Istanbul costs 90,000 miles round-trip. The same trip using United miles from the mainland U.S., Alaska and Canada to Europe costs 60,000 miles one way on a Saver fare or 155,000 miles one way on an Everyday fare.

North America to the Middle East

A round-trip flight to the Middle East in business class limited costs only 94,000 miles, a bargain compared to other airlines.

 

Turkish will charge you $503.54 in taxes and fees for the round-trip flight between Chicago and Tel Aviv.

Here’s the business saver flight on a United Airlines codeshare on Turkish Airlines:

MileagePlus® will charge you 170,000 miles round-trip, plus $60.34 in taxes and fees.

North America to Central Asia

Turkish puts India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Russian republics in the Central Asia region (see the regional chart under `How much do awards cost?’). A round-trip award flight in business class to India will cost 105,000 miles. This is an incredible value that not many other airlines can beat, although finding a flight on the Istanbul to Delhi or Mumbai segment can be a challenge.

Award rules and fees

Keep these rules in mind when you plan an award using Turkish Airline miles:

  • Turkish Airlines charges $8.21 USD for domestic and $25 USD for international flights per transaction.
  • Reservation changes will cost $50 USD to reissue award tickets.
  • Members who cancel or don’t show up for a flight will be charged $25 to redeposit their miles.
  • Award travel reservation changes and cancellations must be processed at a Turkish Airlines sales office; a Miles & Smiles membership card must be presented. Miles expire three years after the date they were earned. You can extend them for another three years for $10 per 1,000 miles.
  • You can book an award ticket from two hours to 355 days before the flight. The airline is taking reservations through May 11, 2020, at press time.

The bottom line

With its extensive route network, membership in the 28-member Star Alliance and flights out of 11 cities in North America, Turkish Airlines is a good option for travelers. The flag carrier offers some great deals for business class — sometimes even better than its alliance partners.

If you’re traveling to Europe and beyond and need to make a stop, flying on Turkish Airlines through its new Istanbul Airport hub is not a bad option, especially if you’re using miles to fly business class.

 


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